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Winners of 2010 Season-Opening Race Look for Strong Results With Four-Car Effort
(Toronto, Canada) -- The Compass360 Racing rig left today for the season-opening Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. Inside the transporter are not only four of the team's iconic bright-orange Honda race cars and all the support equipment, but the hopes and aspirations of the two-time triple-crown Champions.
Compass360 Racing returns to Daytona hot on the heels of their second straight Grand-Am Driver, Team and Manufacturer's championships, which they clinched at Miller Motorsports Park, Utah in September 2010. The team also returns as defending race winners at the famed Florida track. In fact, a C360R car has been on the Daytona podium four years running.
"We've once again put together what I believe is the best driver line-up in the paddock," remarked Team Principal Karl Thomson. Last year's champion, Californian David Thilenius returns to drive the #74 Honda which he'll share with Atlanta's Zach Lutz, who took third in last year's title chase. Technical Director Ray Lee said, "Zach's moved up through our driver development ladder, and he's got what it takes to get the car on the podium. It's great to have another of our young guns move into the closing role, and it's a great opportunity for Zach to drive with last year's champ."
Zach will be battling his other team-mates for top bragging honours, however. Georgia-based Ryan Eversley's regular co-driver Keith Carroll is unavailable for the Daytona race, so the team has tapped Quebec touring car legend Benoit Theetge to drive the first stint in the #75 car. Ben finished fourth in a C360R Honda at last year's Daytona race, while Ryan was fifth.
Benoit's brother Donald, also from Quebec, will co-drive #77 with newcomer Andrew Novich, from California. "Andrew's the newest of our Development drivers, and I was really impressed with his first weekend with the team during the test days," noted Thomson. "Don and Ben normally drive as a duo, but in this case, Donald's going to take over from Andrew to battle with Ryan and Zach, which should be fun to watch!"
Vancouver's Carlos Tesler-Mabe will share the #76 car with Dan Rogers, from Anchorage, Alaska. Tesler-Mabe joined the team for the first time in 2010, competing in four races and finishing in the top-ten in three of them (he was 11th at Miller). Rogers makes the move to pro racing after much success in Pacific Northwest regional series and the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge. "I enjoyed working with Carlos last year," said Crew Chief Steve Wheeler, "and I think he and Dan are going to have a bunch of great races together."
Over the off-season Grand-Am made some changes to the technical regulations of some of the cars, including an inlet restrictor for the Hondas, which means the Civics now make less power. "We've definitely lost some of our top-speed from last year, which is critical at Daytona," noted Thomson. "We've got four great driver duos, but we're going to have to be right on top of the strategy if we're to make it five podiums in a row."
The Grand-Am 200 race takes place on Friday, January 28th at 1:30pm; it will be aired tape-delayed on SPEED Channel on February 5th at 3:00pm. Tickets are available online at the Daytona International Speedway website.